Janesville62.5°

Will city do away with one-ways?

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Catherine W. Idzerda
October 27, 2008
"A plea for full cooperation from Janesville's drivers and pedestrians was issued today by City Manager George Forster and Police Chief Jasper A. Webb on the eve of the changeover from two-way traffic through the business district, a revolutionary step in the city's history." Janesville Daily Gazette, Saturday, July 14, 1956.

And 52 years later...


A proposal to change Five Points intersection to four streets also would create two-way traffic on all of Court Street and most of Milwaukee Street.


The goal?


Getting traffic to the business district, not through it.


In a city memorandum, Janesville Public Works Director Jack Messer recommended that city officials study a plan that would:


-- Make Court Street two-way.


-- Make Milwaukee Street two-way from Atwood Avenue to Academy Street.


-- End Milwaukee Street at Academy Street, transforming Five Points intersection into a more traditional, four-way intersection.


-- Add angle parking to Milwaukee Street.


For more than 50 years, the priority of the one-way system has been to move traffic through downtown, Messer noted.


But "development and business patterns have shifted," and "pedestrian-scale shopping, business and entertainment districts do not co-exist well with traffic systems that give priority to vehicles," Messer said.


In the 2007 study "City of Janesville Downtown Vision and Strategy," the downtown was identified as a destination, "a hub of civic life, employment, arts, culture and entertainment; parks and open space; residential living and health care."


Changing traffic patterns would allow traffic to flow around downtown via Centerway and Court Street.


Messer acknowledged that changing traffic patterns would create significant challenges, including making Centerway a more "efficient" traffic corridor; improvements and changes to Five Points and at the intersection of Garfield Avenue, Centerway and Milwaukee Street.


The proposal is a long way from becoming a reality. At a study session tonight, city staffers were expected to ask the council if they should study the plan.


"We haven't had any public discussion of the plan; we don't know if it is something that the community would support," Messer said this morning.


It's also unknown how much such a project would cost.


"We don't know what has to be done yet," Messer said.


Cost estimates would include everything from engineering designs for altered intersections, construction costs, traffic signals and hundreds of other small details, Messer said.



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